Attack of the Moon Zombies by Ambush Bug
Originally posted at Ain't It Cool News
Christopher R. Mihm has made a career of putting together throwback films which feel like they were actually made in the era of horror when hokey monsters, kooky science, and remedial plots were king. I grew up watching reruns of all of the atomic age monster movies on afternoon spookshows, and it appears I wasn't the only one, because Mihm seems to be an expert on films from this genre. A while back I took a look at Mihm's giant spider movie called "The Giant Spider," and I've got a few other films from Mihm to plow through in the coming weeks. This time around, I'm checking out the courageously titled "Attack of the Moon Zombies!"
Our story begins with a cartoon of a spaceship travelling to a station on the surface of the Earth's moon where a team of scientists are doing sciencey things when they aren't sitting around being completely bored. The coming of a new team of researchers has the science teams all a-twitter because it means more supplies and possibly more women, as it's a 95 to 4 ratio of men to women on the space station. Mihm patiently allows us to explore both the moon station and the individual personalities of the team before introducing any type of threat.
The main threat is boredom for the crew, and while those of today's audience who need scares and splosions every couple of minutes are bound to be bored as well, this slow pacing is a conscious decision by Mihm, as those old timey monster films were high on dialog and exposition with the occasional monster snippet thrown in. A lot of the characters go on long-winded rants explaining this and that or just rambling on with paragraph-long lines that would be summed up in one or two words in a modern film, but that's part of the fun of Mihm's movies and lends to the authenticity of the way they present themselves.
In the latter half of this film, the research crew is transformed one by one into plant-like zombies which spew spores in the faces of humans in order to cause the change. The fungus spreads to almost the entire crew except for the doe-eyed science gal, her dashing but hard-headed boyfriend, and a wizened scientist father figure type. Oh, and a black guy who even comments that he can't believe he's lived this long. The effects are pretty fun, and when I say fun, I mean low fi costumes of cabbage-headed and bean-fingered zombies that feel like they've leapt from a Sid & Marty Krofft show. The threat is never that scary, but seeing the wide-eyed plant zombies inch towards the hero and heroine in mock suspense does tickle those bones of nostalgia.
If you're looking for serious bone-chilling horror, "Attack of the Moon Zombies" ain't it. But if you enjoy the types of films that often showed up on MST3K even before they started heckling the film, Mihm's films should be right up your alley. "Attack of the Moon Zombies" is a lot of goofy fun, but occasionally the lengthy expositional bits give it a lull that might turn off some folks.